In 1643 and in Belgium was born Jean-Jacquet
deGerlaisse, son of Ferdinand deGerlaisse, Seigneur des Hameteaux, and Dorothee Cona. And during that époque most of Europe had been embroiled in war. And France had been at war with Spain and England, including
Turkey and Flanders. And much of Belgium at that time had been under the French Monarchy and reign of the 'Sun King'.
The City of St. Paul-de-Liege had been home to the 'Prince-Bishops', it being the Ecclesiastical Seat of the Roman Catholic
Church. And that fact had spared St. Paul-de-Liege from the ravages of war that had spread across most of the land, and much
of it homeland infighting.
Jean-Jacquet's father, Ferdinand deGerlaisse had been a 'Seigneur', therefore had
been a Landlord, or more correctly, he had been a Feudal Lord, under the French Feudal System of farms of that time
period. And those that had worked the land under the French Feudal system had borne the title of 'Sieur'. And when Jean-Jacquet had come over to New France he had carried with him the title 'Sieur
de St. Amant' and those specifics denote that he had been working the land in Belgium earlier, and within the French feudal
system, and most probably within his fathers domain. Jean-Jacquet had been twenty-two years old when he had decided to immigrate.
Colonization had begun with the exploration of this great country by the French explorer Jacques Cartier;
and it had begun in earnest in 1608 when 'Champlain' had founded Quebec, the "Walled City." For the following fifty-nine
years, until approximately 1667, the colony had been home to many French Soldiers on temporary duty, and those soldiers had
come and gone. Ships in fleets of four had travelled between France and New France, regularly in the beginning of colonization,
and handling the cargo tonnage of goods and passengers.
*Historical Note; Colonization had begun as a private venture, and then in 1663 New France had gone
from being the Propriety of the One Hundred Associates, to being a Royal Colony. And when the call for help came from the
French Colonies, the King had responded favorably. And with that undertaking, and in 1662, Monsieur le Marquis Alexandre
de Prouville de Tracy, had received a most generous commission from King Louis XlV. Tracy had been named Viceroy.
And he had been allotted enough men, material and money, to fortify Frances' position within all of her colonies, and with
the hope of finally ending the war with the Iroquois in New France, and once and for all. And to this end Tracy
had been given the use of the Carignan Regiment. That regiment had been a private Army for hire that had been formed
by Thomas Francois de Savoie, Prince of Carignan. And the original Carignan Regiment had been formed of men bigger then
life. They had been mercenaries', and soldiers for hire. And all had been handpicked volunteers. They had been young
men, big physically, and very strong, and had loved to fight.
Yet before that
Regiment had gone over to New France the Viceroy had decreed that several Forts should be built in New France, to garrison
his troops. And three forts had been built, one on the Richelieu River, and also one in Sorel and one in Chambly.
To those that are unfamiliar with the logistics of military formations, this is a quick lesson. Military
units had to be autonomous, and they had to be self-sustained. As is today, besides the warriors the military also employs, cooks,
administrative clerks and supply officers. The military also employs medical people, and of course the pay clerk. In
essence, besides the fighting men an army employs support tradesmen. The reason I make this point, is because I believe
that Jean-Jacquet deGerlaisse role had been originally mistaken. Jean-Jacquet had been a tradesman, a farmer, and
not a front line soldier. And the military during Tracy's campaign had been organized in similar fashion. And when King
Louis X1V had sent the Carignan Regiment to New France he had assigned them to orders, and under the Command
of Henri de Chapelas, Seigneur de Sallieres, and had re-named the regiment, the "Carignan-Sallieres Regiment."
The Campaign had been advertised as a great adventure, a road to a new start, and the opportunity to
own land, and an equal opportunity for all. It had been an offer that had been difficult to refuse, because not
only had those who signed on got their passage to New France free, they had also been put on the payroll
of the Viceroy. But there were hardships from the get go. The trip over had been difficult, and the crew and passengers had
been stricken with illness. And when de Tracy had finally arrived in New France, he did so in one of the smaller accompanying boats,
because the winds in the St. Lawrence had not been favorable to navigate the larger ships. Tracy arrived in the first
boatload with a few of his army officers and personal support staff, 30 June 1665. He had been
welcomed by the dignitaries of new France and had walked with them to the town church ,where he had knelt and said a
prayer. Tracy had been ill and very weak.
And over the following three months the ships and
the rest of the garrison and cargo had arrived. They had been 1200 strong. de Tracy's arrival had been
an impressive sight indeed. Two very large ships, the Brese, a ship of eight hundred tonnages and the Teron, a ship of seven
hundred tonnages had led the pack. And several smaller ships that had carried the munitions and food supplies, and complete
with all that had been necessary to run a campaign of this magnitude. And leaving nothing to chance, that campaign of Officers
and troops had been accompanied by, and I quote, 'des gens a cultiver la terres', (farmers) 'des artisan', (those to make
clothes and boots) 'cooks and medical aid of the times'. Tradesmen required to make things like knives and swords, bullets
etc, were also brought over. Blacksmiths, to care for the horses had also been included in the manifest. And interestingly,
the front line soldiers had been housed and garrisoned within the three newly built forts. But please take note, our forefather,
Jean-Jacquet deGerlaisse had not been garrisoned, he had been housed with an already established family of similar circumstance,
a farmer, as had many others who had gone before him, to fortify the Seigniorial. Their role had been to work the land
and grow crops, to put food on the regiments table. And understand this, there were no corner stores. You grew and cultivated
food to survive. And it is written that Jean-Jacquet had quickly proven his worth. And as part of that support group,
I would imagine that everyone's role in New France had been two fold, and whenever the call came Jean-Jacquet and
the other farmers had defended the Seigniorial against the Iroquois attacks, and he must have fired shots in anger. It
was part of his job. They had to defend themselves to survive.
that Regiment had remained in New France until 1667. And when Tracy had been satisfied that he had brought
the Iroquois to their knees, he headed back to France. And in effect it is written that the Iroquois had sued for peace, and
that they had also asked for missionaries to teach them, to make them better neighbors, but that, as history has revealed
had been a ruse. And it might be interesting to note that de Tracy had been the man that had introduce horses onto this
continent. And when the Regiment had disbanded in 1667, most of the soldiers in the Regiment had gone back to France,
with the exception of a few hundred. But some soldiers had been enticed, and offered and allotted land to farm. And those
soldiers remaining had formed the smaller Militia units within the Seigniorial to fight off the marauding Indians that had
continued to plague them. It would seem that de Tracy had left too soon.
In New France the colonists had continued to defend themselves against the skirmishes
of marauding Indians and including the pesky English. And in 1689 and a year of infamy, the bloodthirsty Iroquois had shown
their true colors once again. They had launched a fierce offensive against the French once again. And that battle had become
known as the massacre of Lachine.
So who are the Iroquois? The Iroquois are not one people,
they are a nation of tribes, and formed by the banding of Five Indian Nations. They had been the Mohawk, Oneida,
Onondagas, Cayuga and the Seneca. And sometime during the eighteenth century the Tuscaroras had joined the Iroquois, making
them six Nations.
And with de Tracy's return to France, that
time period had marked a change. 'The Sun King' had turned his back on the colonies. France had just quashed two attempted
revolts, one in 1648, and another in 1653, and she had also been engaged in an ongoing war with Spain, and England.The
Sun King had been too busy to worry about the ongoing struggle in New France. And a bad political move
by the French Monarchy had further weakened King Louis XlV, with his revocation of the Nantes Edict, and his expulsion
of the 200,000 French Protestants (Huguenots) into exile. Under mounting pressure at home the King had turned his back
on New France.
And as mentioned earlier colonization had begun as a business venture.
Frenchmen and Frenchwomen had come over to New France under contract, and as soon as their term of service had been
done, more often then not they had returned to France, although some had remained.
And things had worsened for the colonists.
France had been embroiled in an ongoing battle with England for years. And when that phase had finally escalated to a full
blown war, and concessions had been made to appease the British, and France had reluctantly conceded valuable territory
in the new world to England, and by the Treaty of Utrecht signed on 13 July 1713. And with a stroke of the pen, the North
American continent, under French rule, and an area including Canada and 70 percent of what is now the united states,
And to change the subject and in a surprising turn of events Jean-Jacquet had married
Jeanne Trudel, she had been twelve years old at the time, which had been in 1668, and when he had been twenty-five
years old. Okay, I admit that it was another time, and I had heard of those unions, but to see it on paper and so close to
home, do you know what I`m saying? It's just plain weird. And with that marriage, our ancestry began in earnest.
Yet during that first year of marriage, 1669 he had been
contracted to live with his wife's parents, as stipulated within the marriage contract. And I hope that they made him sleep
in a bed by himself. I mean, come on, she was twelve. What was the world coming to?
note that he had not been a soldier in the militia during that period. And as time would have it, their first child Catherine,
had been born on the 23 April 1673, and in l'Ange Guardien, and when his wife Jeanne was 17 years old, and Jean-Jacquet
had been thirty.
Okay, so they had
done it right.
This is notable; 1673 had also been the year that Jean-Jacquet's
lease (loan)had been approved, and it had also been the year that he had begun his years of service in the Militia. And from
reading the documents, it would seem that he had been granted a loan to own land with the stipulation of serving in the Militia.
Jean-Jacquet deGerlaisse story reads like a romance novel, even to the part of his giving
up a parcel of his land to the construction of a chapel. Jean-Jacquet deGerlaisse,
'dit St. Amant', weekend soldier, farmer extraordinaire, faithful husband and loving father, was a landowner. And curiously,
Jean-Francois deGerlaisse is the only son of that union that continues his lineage, and Jean-Francois
does so in such a positive and brave fashion, and making him a monumental and pivotal tribute to our ancestry.
Histoire De Louiseville
1665-1960 Germain Lesage,o.m.i.
Acadian & French Ancestral
Catholic Encylopedia: Alexandre
de Prouville, Marquis de Tracy
Sorel-Tracy (histoire) rechere